Beetles in Indian exports give US the creeps
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Beetles in Indian exports give US the creeps

Monday, 22 December 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: Wood-boring beetles that apparently crawled into the US in scented pinecones from India are giving authorities the creeps, and orders have been passed to recall cone exports from stores.

The Department of Agriculture issued a recall notice after the beetles, not native to the US, were found in some pinecones. There are fears that these unwanted Indian exports could destroy the native pine trees in the US.

"These pests, which feed on pine cones and lower seed production, had never before been detected in the US," the department said in a news release.

The pinecones were found in different types of packaging in various stores nationwide, including Target, Wal-Mart, JoAnn Fabrics, Lowe's, Dollar Tree, Safeway, Frank's Nursery and K-Mart.

Federal and state inspectors found beetle-infested pinecones at stores in at least nine states. In New Jersey, infested cones were found in three stores.

"While it's uncertain how these beetles would impact our native pines, we don't want to take any chances," said Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus.

"We are asking the public to help protect New Jersey's forested areas by complying with this important recall."

The department also advised consumers to either return the product to the store, from where it was purchased, to be destroyed or asked them to freeze it or double bag it, tie it securely and dispose of it in the trash.

Frozen products should remain in the freezer for a minimum of two days to ensure the pests are killed, the Department of Agriculture said.

Adult wood-boring beetles and larvae of the chlorophorus strobilicola (cerambycidae) are a serious threat to pine forests and conifers. They reduce seed production and their attack on weakened pine trees could destroy forests.

Source: IANS
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